The firm of Withers, Gough, Pike & Pfaff, LLC carries the highest rating attainable by a firm according to Martindale Hubbell standards of excellence and by peer review.
Four partners from WGPPP were recently selected by their peers for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America 2014 (Copyright 2013 by Woodward/White, Inc., of Aiken, SC). The firm is also recognized in U.S.News - Best Lawyers Best Law Firms 2014 for Legal Malpractice Defense, Mining, Oil & Gas Law (Tier 1 / Wichita); Employment Law - Individuals (Tier 2 / Wichita); and Employment Law - Management, and Personal Injury Defense (Tier 3 / Wichita).
Our lawyers provide quality legal services in the areas of Business and Corporate Law, Employment Law, Oil & Gas, Product Liability, Professional Liability, Real Estate, Insurance, Environmental Law and Personal Injury. The firm has substantial experience in handling a broad variety of litigation in all of these practice areas, including complex cases, on behalf of both individuals and corporations in the Wichita metro area and throughout Kansas.
For many years we have represented oil and gas producers in Kansas on day-to-day operating matters, in regulatory hearings and in complex litigation, including class action cases.
The firm provides practical business advice to many large and small businesses in Kansas, including individuals who are starting a new business. Our firm also specializes in Employee Benefits Disputes, Long-Term Disability claims and litigation, Wage and Hour, FMLA, and ADA cases.
We invite you to explore our website to learn more about the individual attorneys of Withers, Gough, Pike, Pfaff & Peterson LLC, and the primary practice areas of the firm.
200 West Douglas, Suite 1010, O.W. Garvey Building
Wichita KS 67202
We represent both employers and employees with employment law issues.
This field has been subject to rapid change and increasing complexity in recent years. We routinely advise our clients on the following subjects:
Wage and Hour Claims/Liability for Overtime Pay. Federal law requires a minimum hourly wage and overtime premium pay in many employment situations. Kansas has imposed its own set of requirements as well, which apply in some cases but not others. Our firm has handled individual and class action wage and hour cases. For employers, we assist with compliance and defend suits by current and former employees. We also represent employees in lawsuits to recover compensation that is owed under federal and state law. Typical wage and hour situations include:
-Deductions from paychecks that do not comply with the law.
-Misclassification - federal regulations define who is "exempt" from overtime compensation. Misclassification occurs when an employer classifies a non-exempt person as exempt, and fails to pay the employee for his or her overtime.
-"Off the clock" work - when an employee is expected to work either before her shift starts, after her shift, or during an unpaid break.
Early intervention by an attorney can help resolve wage and hour issues. If you would like to discuss representation, please call Don Peterson or Sean McGivern.
Americans With Disabilities Act. The ADA prohibits certain employers from discriminating against qualified individuals with disabilities in job application procedures, hiring, firing, advancement, compensation, job training, and other terms, conditions, and privileges of employment. 2008 amendments to the ADA make it easier for an individual seeking protection under the ADA to establish that he or she has a covered disability. We assist our employer-clients with ADA compliance. We have also assisted employees in seeking the protections they are entitled to under the ADA.
Family and Medical Leave Act. The FMLA provides certain employees with up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave per year. We assist employers with FMLA compliance. Don Peterson has spoken at many seminars on how employers may best navigate the confusing rules of the FMLA, ADA and workers compensation laws. We have also assisted employees in seeking the protections they are entitled to under the FMLA.
Race, Sex and Age Discrimination. Both federal and Kansas law prohibit discrimination in employment based on race, color, religion, sex, national origin, and age. These laws are enforced by a state agency called the Kansas Human Rights Commission ("KHRC") and the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC"). Before a lawsuit may be filed in court, a complaint must be filed with these agencies. We have experience handling discrimination claims before these agencies and in federal court. In early 2000, Don Peterson was a speaker at a Kansas Bar Association seminar together with an attorney with the KHRC regarding the handling of claims before that agency. We have handled many discrimination cases in both state and federal courts. For example, Wager v. Guy's Foods, Inc., 256 Kan. 300, 885 P.2d 1197 (1994) (sex discrimination jury verdict for our client, the plaintiff); Brackens v. Best Cabs, Case No. 02-1392-WEB, U. S. District Court, District of Kansas (2004) (summary judgment in favor of our client, the defendant, in race discrimination suit).
Wrongful Termination. Kansas is an "employment at will" state, meaning that, just as an employee legally may quit a job without having a good reason or providing notice, so too an employer may terminate without good cause or notice. This is just a general rule, however, and there are many exceptions. An employment contract, whether express or implied, is the most common exception. There are other less common ones too, including termination because the employee is serving on jury duty, called up to serve in the military for active duty, or needs to miss work to deal with domestic assault or sexual violence. We help employers comply with the many rules in this area and handle litigation were needed.
Retaliatory Discharge. This is another exception to the employment at will doctrine. Most federal and state acts that provide for employee rights contain an explicit rule prohibiting an employer from retaliating against any employee who asserts such rights or who assists another employee, by way of testimony, in asserting their rights. Even where the statutory enactment does not contain such an explicit prohibition against retaliation, courts have sometimes implied one. For example, in Kansas the Workers Compensation Act does not contain a provision against retaliation, but the Kansas Supreme Court has still prohibited employers from retaliating as a matter of public policy. The federal ERISA law prohibits employers from interfering with an employee's right to participate in an employer-sponsored group health care plan.
Practice Areas: Business Litigation; Business Law; Corporate Law; Professional Liability; Oil and Gas Law; Personal Injury; Environmental Law; Product Liability; Real Estate; Insurance Defense.
Admitted: 1976, Kansas. Member of the Wichita, Kansas and American Bar Associations.
Education: Preparatory education, University of Kansas (B.A., with highest distinction, 1973); legal education, University of Kansas School of Law (J. D. 1976) Kansas Law Review, 1975-1976. Phi Beta Kappa. Order of the Coif.
Personal Background : Born in Hutchinson, Kansas on December 7, 1951. Steve has been married to his wife, Lisa, since August 19, 1973. They have one son, Matthew, who is also pursuing a legal career. He has been an active member of Plymouth Congregational Church for many years. His hobbies include hunting, sporting clays and golf.
Professional Background : In 1976 Steve started his career with the Kahrs Nelson firm, which at one time was the third largest firm in Kansas, and was a partner in that firm from 1980 through 1999. The firm of Withers, Gough, Pike, Pfaff & Peterson LLC was formed by five attorneys who were formerly partners at the Kahrs Nelson firm.
Professional Experience includes the following:
-Business and Corporate Law: formation of corporate entities, general counsel for several corporations, buy-sell agreements, sale of stock and corporate assets. See, Business and Corporate Law area of practice for more information.
---Business Litigation: complex trademark litigation, securities fraud litigation, breach of fiduciary duties, contract disputes, and class action cases. Mr. Gough served as trial counsel for the plaintiff in a jury trial that resulted in entry of judgment on October 16, 2013 in the amount of $1,659,113.27. Waste Connections of Kansas, Inc. v. Ritchie Corporation, Case No. 07 CV 3308, District Court, Sedgwick County, Kansas. After a week long trial, the jury found that the Defendant breached the duty of good faith and fair dealing involving a contract where the Plaintiff held a right of first refusal on a property known as the Transfer Station. The history of this complex case is set forth in Waste Connections of Kansas, Inc. v. Ritchie Corporation, 296 Kan. 943, 298 P.3d 250 (2013). See, Business Litigation area of practice for more information. Since 2008, Mr. Gough has been named as a Super Lawyer in the area of Business Litigation representing the top 5% of practicing attorneys in Missouri & Kansas. For more information about this designation, please go to the Super Lawyers icon that appears at the bottom of this page.
---Professional Liability: defends attorneys sued for legal malpractice. See, Professional Liability area of practice for additional information. Since 2007, Mr. Gough has been selected for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America in the specialty of Legal Malpractice Law. In 2013, Mr. Gough was designated Lawyer of the Year by Best Lawyers in the category: "Legal Malpractice Law - Defendants."
---Oil & Gas: extensive experience in oil and gas regulatory proceedings and litigation. See, Oil & Gas area of practice for additional information. Since 2007, Mr. Gough has been selected for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America in the specialty of Mining Law.
---Personal Injury Litigation: has litigated serious personal injury cases. See, Personal Injury Litigation area of practice for more information. On March 24, 2010 in the case of Dennis D. Gay v. Unified School District 435, et al, Case No. 09 CV 24, Dickinson County, Kansas, the jury awarded damages in the amount of $1.5 million to Mr. Gay after a seven-day jury trial. Mr. Gough was lead trial counsel in that case which involved extensive preparation. Experts included two neuropsychologists, two rehabilitation experts, a vocational expert, a life care expert, and an economist. On May 17, 2010, the defendants paid the judgment in full.
---Product Liability: has defended manufacturers in a variety of product liability cases. See, Product Liability area of practice for additional information.
---Estate Planning: advises clients concerning estate planning, preparation of wills, trusts and powers of attorney. Has litigated cases involving spousal rights, breach of fiduciary duties by trustees and will contests. See, Estate Planning, Wills & Trusts area of practice for additional information.
---Environmental Law: has litigated cases involving surface pollution and groundwater pollution. Has worked with regulatory agencies in developing remediation plans. See, Environmental Law area of practice for additional information.
Professional Publications and Seminars.
"The Voidability of Interested Director Contracts Under the Kansas Corporation Code," 24 K.L.R. 655, 663 (1976).
"Tortious Interference with Contracts," Wichita Bar Association CLE, 1985.
"3-D Seismic Exploration Under the Oil and Gas Lease," KBA/KIOGA Oil & Gas Seminar, 2006
University of Kansas School of Law
Juris Doctorate ,
Practice Areas: Natural Resources; Oil and Gas; Administrative Law; Real Estate; Wills; Trust Law
Admitted: 1978, Kansas Law School: University of Kansas, J.D.
Member: Wichita and Kansas (Member, Title Standards Committee) Bar Associations; Kansas Independent Oil and Gas Association.
Born: Wichita, Kansas, September 8, 1952
Personal Background: Born Wichita, Kansas, September 8, 1952; married with three children. Private pilot since 1969. Active in management of family farm. Certified Kansas Hunter Education instructor. Personal interests include hunting, fishing, and woodworking.
Professional Background: Practiced law in Wichita since 1978. Prior to the founding of Withers, Gough, Pike, Pfaff & Peterson LLC, John was a partner with the firms of Hall, Turner and Pike, Chartered; the Kahrs, Nelson firm; and Martin, Pringle, Oliver, Wallace and Swartz, L.L.P.
Professional Experience includes practice before the Kansas Corporation Commission, Kansas District Courts, the Kansas Court of Appeals and the Kansas Supreme Court; the Federal District Court for Kansas; the Kansas Board of Tax Appeals; extensive experience in abstract and 'stand-up' title examination in all oil and gas producing counties in Kansas. See, Oil & Gas, Real Estate, and Estate Planning Areas of Practice for additional information.
Professional Involvement: Past President of the Kansas Bar Association Oil, Gas & Mineral Law section. Member of the Kansas Bar Association Title Standards Committee. Member and past Director of the Wichita Association of Petroleum Landmen. Member of the Kansas Electronic Recording Committee. Since 2010, he has been selected in The Best Lawyers of America in the area of Mining Law. John was named Best Lawyers' 2014 Wichita "Lawyer of the Year" for the Mining Law; and he was also honored as a Best Lawyer for Oil & Gas Law.
John G. Pike carries an "AV" rating which is the highest rating attainable under the Martindale-Hubbell peer review rating system.
University of Kansas
Juris Doctorate ,
Practice Areas: Insurance Defense; Employment Law; Civil Litigation; Product Liability; Insurance Coverage; Personal Injury; Consumer Law
Admitted: 1986, KansasLaw School: University of Kansas, J.D.Member: Wichita and Kansas Bar Associations.
Personal Background: Born in Council Grove, Kansas on March 3, 1962. Alan has been married to his wife, Joan, since June 22, 1991. They have one son, Jason. He has been an active member of First Baptist Church for many years. His hobbies include golf, fishing and reading.
Professional Background: In 1986 Alan started his career with the Kahrs Nelson firm, and was a partner in that firm from 1991 through 1999. He also practiced with the Wichita office of Husch & Eppenberger before joining Withers, Gough, Pike, Pfaff & Peterson LLC in November of 2003.
Professional Experience includes the following:
-Insurance Law: has extensive experience analyzing coverage issues and litigating complex insurance disputes. See, Insurance Law Area of Practice for additional information.
-Personal Injury Litigation: has litigated serious personal injury cases. See, Personal Injury Litigation Area of Practice for more information. In 2013 and 2014, Alan Pfaff was selected by his peers for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America in the area of Personal Injury Litigation -- Defense.
-Product Liability: has defended manufacturers in a variety of product liability cases. See, Product Liability Area of Practice for additional information.
-Business Litigation: complex fraud litigation, breach of fiduciary duties, and contract disputes. See, Business Litigation Area of Practice for more information.
-Consumer Law: has litigated cases.
-Publications: co-authored with Donald N. Peterson, II, the chapter on Section1983 in the Kansas Employment Law Handbook published by the Kansas Bar Association in 2000.
Law School: Washburn University of Topeka, J.D.
Personal Background: Larry was born in Versailles, Missouri on August 22, 1942. He died July 26, 2004, after a courageous battle with cancer, at the height of his legal career. In 1968, Larry started his career with the Kahrs Nelson firm in Wichita, Kansas. He was a partner in that firm from 1971 through 1999, and was instrumental in seeing that firm grow from a small firm of eight lawyers to a firm of over thirty lawyers, becoming at one time the third largest firm in Kansas. The firm of Withers, Gough, Pike, Pfaff & Peterson LLC was formed by five attorneys who were formerly partners at the Kahrs Nelson firm. We all worked closely with Larry over the years and are indebted to him for the excellent training that we received as young lawyers. His spirit remains a guiding force in how we approach, prepare and try complex product liability, insurance and commercial cases.
Education: Larry received both his undergraduate and law degrees from Washburn University of Topeka (B.B.A, 1965; J.D., 1968). He was Comments Editor of the Washburn Law Journal (1967-1968).
Professional Experience: He was admitted to practice in Kansas in 1968, in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit in 1972, and in the United States Supreme Court in 2004. He was a member of the Bench Bar Committee for the U.S. District Court for the District of Kansas (1992-1998). He was a member of the Wichita, Kansas, and American Bar Associations; International Association of Defense Counsel; Defense Research Institute; Kansas Trial Lawyers Association; Kansas Association of Defense Counsel and American Board of Trial Advocates.
Practice Areas: Larry specialized in product liability cases. He developed a keen interest and hands-on knowledge about machines and cars at an early age by working in his father
Washburn University of Topeka
Juris Doctorate ,